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By Plutarch

(legendary, lived 500 B.C.E.)

Translated by John Dryden

Such was Solon. To him we compare Poplicola, who received this later
title from the Roman people for his merit, as a noble accession to
his former name, Publius Valerius. He descended from Valerius, a man
amongst the early citizens, reputed the principal reconciler of the
differences betwixt the Romans and Sabines, and one that was most
instrumental in persuading their kings to assent to peace and union.
Thus descended, Publius Valerius, as it is said, whilst Rome remained
under its kingly government, obtained as great a name from his eloquence
as from his riches, charitably employing the one in liberal aid to
the poor, the other with integrity and freedom in the service of justice
thereby giving assurance, that, should the government fall into a
republic, he would become a chief man in the community. The illegal
and wicked accession of Tarquinius Superbus to the crown, with his
making it, instead of kingly rule, the instrument of insolence and
tyranny, having inspired the people with a hatred to his reign, upon
the death of Lucretia (she killing herself after violence had been
done to her), they took an occasion of revolt; and Lucius Brutus,
engaging in the change, came to Valerius before all others, and, with
his zealous assistance, deposed the kings. And whilst the people inclined
towards the electing one leader instead of their king, Valerius acquiesced,
that to rule was rather Brutus's due, as the author of the democracy.
But when the name of monarchy was odious to the people, and a divided
power appeared more grateful in the prospect, and two were chosen
to hold it, Valerius, entertaining hopes that he might be elected
consul with Brutus, was disappointed; for, instead of Valerius, notwithstanding
the endeavours of Brutus, Tarquinius Collatinus was chosen, the husband
of Lucretia, a man noways his superior in merit. But the nobles dreading
the return of their kings, who still used all endeavours abroad and
solicitations at home, were resolved upon a chieftain of an intense
hatred to them, and noways likely to yield. 

Now Valerius was troubled that his desire to serve his country should
be doubted, because he had sustained no private injury from the insolence
of the tyrants. He withdrew from the senate and practice of the bar,
quitting all public concerns; which gave an occasion of discourse,
and fear, too, lest his anger should reconcile him to the king's side,
and he should prove the ruin of the state, tottering as yet under
the uncertainties of a change. But Brutus being doubtful of some others,
and determined to give the test to the senate upon the altars, upon
the day appointed Valerius came with cheerfulness into the forum,
and was the first man that took the oath, in no way to submit or yield
to Tarquin's propositions, but rigorously to maintain liberty; which
gave great satisfaction to the senate and assurance to the consuls,
his action soon after showing the sincerity of his oath. For ambassadors
came from Tarquin, with popular and specious proposals, whereby they
thought to seduce the people, as though the king had cast off all
insolence, and made moderation the only measure of his desires. To
this embassy the consuls thought fit to give public audience, but
Valerius opposed it, and would not permit that the poorer people,
who entertained more fear of war than of tyranny, should have any
occasion offered them, or any temptations to new designs. Afterwards
other ambassadors arrived, who declared their king would recede from
his crown, and lay down his arms, only capitulating for a restitution
to himself, his friends, and allies, of their moneys and estates to
support them in their banishment. Now, several inclining to the request,
and Collatinus in particular favouring it, Brutus, a man of vehement
and unbending nature, rushed into the forum, there proclaiming his
fellow-consul to be a traitor, in granting subsidies to tyranny, and
supplies for a war to those to whom it was monstrous to allow so much
as subsistence in exile. This caused an assembly of the citizens,
amongst whom the first that spake was Caius Minucius, a private man,
who advised Brutus, and urged the Romans to keep the property, and
employ it against the tyrants, rather than to remit it to the tyrants,
to be used against themselves. The Romans, however, decided that whilst
they had enjoyed the liberty they had fought for, they should not
sacrifice peace for the sake of money, but send out the tyrants' property
after them. This question, however, of his property was the least
part of Tarquin's design; the demand sounded the feelings of the people,
and was preparatory to a conspiracy which the ambassadors endeavoured
to excite, delaying their return, under pretence of selling some of
the goods and reserving others to be sent away, till, in fine, they
corrupted two of the most eminent families in Rome, the Aquillian,
which had three, and the Vitellian, which had two senators. These
all were, by the mother's side, nephews to Collatinus; besides which
Brutus had a special alliance to the Vitellii from his marriage with
their sister, by whom he had several children; two of whom, of their
own age, their near relations and daily companions, the Vitellii seduced
to join in the plot, to ally themselves to the great house and royal
hopes of the Tarquins, and gain emancipation from the violence and
imbecility united of their father, whose austerity to offenders they
termed violence, while the imbecility which he had long feigned, to
protect himself from the tyrants, still, it appears, was, in name
at least, ascribed to him. When upon these inducements the youths
came to confer with the Aquillii, and thought it convenient to bind
themselves in a solemn and dreadful oath, by tasting the blood of
a murdered man, and touching his entrails. For which design they met
at the house of the Aquillii. The building chosen for the transaction
was, as was natural, dark and unfrequented, and a slave named Vindicius
had, as it chanced, concealed himself there, not out of design or
any intelligence of the affair, but, accidentally being within, seeing
with how much haste and concern they came in, he was afraid to be
discovered, and placed himself behind a chest, where he was able to
observe their actions and overhear their debates. Their resolutions
were to kill the consuls, and they wrote letters to Tarquin to this
effect, and gave them to the ambassadors, who were lodging upon the
spot with the Aquillii, and were present at the consultation.

Upon their departure, Vindicius secretly quitted the house, but was
at a loss what to do in the matter, for to arraign the sons before
the father Brutus, or the nephews before the uncle Collatinus, seemed
equally (as indeed it was) shocking; yet he knew no private Roman
to whom he could intrust secrets of such importance. Unable, however,
to keep silence, and burdened with his knowledge, he went and addressed
himself to Valerius, whose known freedom and kindness of temper were
an inducement; as he was a person to whom the needy had easy access,
and who never shut his gates against the petitions or indigences of
humble people. But when Vindicius came and made a complete discovery
to him, his brother Marcus and his own wife being present, Valerius
was struck with amazement, and by no means would dismiss the discoverer,
but confined him to the room, and placed his wife as a guard to the
door, sending his brother in the interim to beset the king's palace,
and seize, if possible, the writings there, and secure the domestics,
whilst he, with his constant attendance of clients and friends, and
a great retinue of attendants, repaired to the house of the Aquillii,
who were, as it chanced, absent from home; and so, forcing an entrance
through the gates, they lit upon the letters then lying in the lodgings
of the ambassadors. Meantime the Aquillii returned in all haste, and,
coming to blows about the gate, endeavoured a recovery of the letters.
The other party made a resistance, and throwing their gowns around
their opponents' necks, at last, after much struggling on both sides,
made their way with them their prisoners through the streets into
the forum. The like engagement happened about the king's palace, where
Marcus seized some other letters which it was designed should be conveyed
away in the goods, and, laying hands on such of the king's people
as he could find, dragged them also into the forum. When the consuls
had quieted the tumult, Vindicius was brought out by the orders of
Valerius, and the accusation stated, and the letters were opened,
to which the traitors could make no plea. Most of the people standing
mute and sorrowful, some only, out of kindness to Brutus, mentioning
banishment, the tears of Collatinus, attended with Valerius's silence,
gave some hopes of mercy. But Brutus, calling his two sons by their
names, "Canst not thou," said he, "O Titus, or thou, Tiberius, make
any defence against the indictment?" The question being thrice proposed,
and no reply made, he turned himself to the lictors and cried, "What
remains is your duty." They immediately seized the youths, and, stripping
them of their clothes, bound their hands behind them and scourged
their bodies with their rods; too tragical a scene for others to look
at; Brutus, however, is said not to have turned aside his face, nor
allowed the least glance of pity to soften and smooth his aspect of
rigour and austerity, but sternly watched his children suffer, even
till the lictors, extending them on the ground, cut off their heads
with an axe; then departed, committing the rest to the judgment of
his colleague. An action truly open alike to the highest commendation
and the strongest censure; for either the greatness of his virtue
raised him above the impressions of sorrow, or the extravagance of
his misery took away all sense of it; but neither seemed common, or
the result of humanity, but either divine or brutish. Yet it is more
reasonable that our judgment should yield to his reputation, than
that his merit should suffer detraction by the weakness of our judgment;
in the Roman's opinion, Brutus did a greater work in the establishment
of the government than Romulus in the foundation of the city.

Upon Brutus's departure out of the forum, consternation, horror, and
silence for some time possessed all that reflected on what was done;
the easiness and tardiness, however, of Collatinus gave confidence
to the Aquillii to request some time to answer their charge, and that
Vindicius, their servant, should be remitted into their hands, and
no longer harboured amongst their accusers. The consul seemed inclined
to their proposal, and was proceeding to dissolve the assembly; but
Valerius would not suffer Vindicius, who was surrounded by his people,
to be surrendered, nor the meeting to withdraw without punishing the
traitors; and at length laid violent hands upon the Aquillii, and,
calling Brutus to his assistance, exclaimed against the unreasonable
course of Collatinus, to impose upon his colleague the necessity of
taking away the lives of his own sons, and yet have thoughts of gratifying
some women with the lives of traitors and public enemies. Collatinus,
displeased at this, and commanding Vindicius to be taken away, the
lictors made their way through the crowd and seized their man, and
struck all who endeavoured a rescue. Valerius's friends headed the
resistance, and the people cried out for Brutus, who, returning, on
silence being made, told them he had been competent to pass sentence
by himself upon his own sons, but left the rest to the suffrages of
the free citizens: "Let every man speak that wishes, and persuade
whom he can." But there was no need of oratory, for, it being referred
to the vote, they were returned condemned by all the suffrages, and
were accordingly beheaded. 

Collatinus's relationship to the kings had, indeed, already rendered
him suspicious, and his second name, too, had made him obnoxious to
the people, who were loth to hear the very sound of Tarquin; but after
this had happened, perceiving himself an offence to every one, he
relinquished his charge and departed from the city. At the new elections
in his room, Valerius obtained, with high honour, the consulship,
as a just reward of his zeal; of which he thought Vindicius deserved
a share, whom he made, first of all freedmen, a citizen of Rome, and
gave him the privilege of voting in what tribe soever he was pleased
to be enrolled; other freedmen received the right of suffrage a long
time after from Appius, who thus courted popularity; and from this
Vindicius, a perfect manumission is called to this day vindicta. This
done, the goods of the kings were exposed to plunder, and the palace
to ruin. 

The pleasantest part of the field of Mars, which Tarquin had owned,
was devoted to the service of that god; but, it happening to be harvest
season, and the sheaves yet being on the ground, they thought it not
proper to commit them to the flail, or unsanctify them with any use;
and, therefore, carrying them to the river-side, and trees withal
that were cut down, they cast all into the water, dedicating the soil,
free from all occupation, to the deity. Now, these thrown in, one
upon another, and closing together, the stream did not bear them far,
but where the first were carried down and came to a bottom, the remainder,
finding no farther conveyance, were stopped and interwoven one with
another; the stream working the mass into a firmness, and washing
down fresh mud. This, settling there, became an accession of matter,
as well as cement, to the rubbish, insomuch that the violence of the
waters could not remove it, but forced and compressed it all together.
Thus its bulk and solidity gained it new subsidies, which gave it
extension enough to stop on its way most of what the stream brought
down. This is now a sacred island, lying by the city, adorned with
the temples of the gods, and walks, and is called in the Latin tongue
inter duos pontes. Though some say this did not happen at the dedication
of Tarquin's field, but in aftertimes, when Tarquinia, a vestal priestess,
gave an adjacent field to the public, and obtained great honours in
consequence, as, amongst the rest, that of all women her testimony
alone should be received; she had also the liberty to marry, but refused
it; thus some tell the story. 

Tarquin, despairing of a return to his kingdom by the conspiracy,
found a kind reception amongst the Tuscans, who, with a great army,
proceeded to restore him. The consuls headed the Romans against them,
and made their rendezvous in certain holy places, the one called the
Arsian grove, the other the Aesuvian meadow. When they came into action,
Aruns, the son of Tarquin, and Brutus, the Roman consul, not accidentally
encountering each other, but out of hatred and rage, the one to avenge
tyranny and enmity to his country, the other his banishment, set spurs
to their horses, and, engaging with more fury than forethought, disregarding
their own security, fell together in the combat. This dreadful onset
hardly was followed by a more favourable end; both armies, doing and
receiving equal damage, were separated by a storm. Valerius was much
concerned, not knowing what the result of the day was, and seeing
his men as well dismayed at the sight of their own dead, as rejoiced
at the loss of the enemy; so apparently equal in the number was the
slaughter on either side. Each party, however, felt surer of defeat
from the actual sight of their own dead, than they could feel of victory
from conjecture about those of their adversaries. The night being
come (and such as one may presume must follow such a battle), and
the armies laid to rest, they say that the grove shook, and uttered
a voice, saying that the Tuscans had lost one man more than the Romans;
clearly a divine announcement; and the Romans at once received it
with shouts and expressions of joy; whilst the Tuscans, through fear
and amazement, deserted their tents, and were for the most part dispersed.
The Romans, falling upon the remainder, amounting to nearly five thousand,
took them prisoners, and plundered the camp; when they numbered the
dead, they found on the Tuscans' side eleven thousand and three hundred,
exceeding their own loss but by one man. This fight happened upon
the last of February, and Valerius triumphed in honour of it, being
the first consul that drove in with a four-horse chariot; which sight
both appeared magnificent, and was received with an admiration free
from envy or offence (as some suggest) on the part of the spectators;
it would not otherwise have been continued with so much eagerness
and emulation through all the after ages. The people applauded likewise
the honours he did to his colleague, in adding to his obsequies a
funeral oration: which was so much liked by the Romans, and found
so good a reception, that it became customary for the best men to
celebrate the funerals of great citizens with speeches in their commendation;
and their antiquity in Rome is affirmed to be greater than in Greece,
unless, with the orator Anaximenes, we make Solon the first author.

Yet some part of Valerius's behaviour did give offence and disgust
to the people, because Brutus, whom they esteemed the father of their
liberty, had not presumed to rule without a colleague, but united
one and then another to him in his commission; while Valerius, they
said, centering all authority in himself, seemed not in any sense
a successor to Brutus in the consulship, but to Tarquin in the tyranny;
he might make verbal harangues to Brutus's memory, yet when he was
attended with all the rods and axes, proceeding down from a house
than which the king's house that he had demolished had not been statelier,
those actions showed him an imitator of Tarquin. For, indeed, his
dwelling-house on the Velia was somewhat imposing in appearance, hanging
over the forum, and overlooking all transactions there; the access
to it was hard, and to see him far off coming down, a stately and
royal spectacle. But Valerius showed how well it were for men in power
and great offices to have ears that give admittance to truth before
flattery; for upon his friends telling him that he displeased the
people, he contended not, neither resented it, but while it was still
night, sending for a number of work-people, pulled down his house
and levelled it with the ground; so that in the morning the people,
seeing and flocking together, expressed their wonder and their respect
for his magnanimity, and their sorrow, as though it had been a human
being, for the large and beautiful house which was thus lost to them
by an unfounded jealousy, while its owner, their consul, without a
roof of his own, had to beg a lodging with his friends. For his friends
received him, till a place the people gave him was furnished with
a house, though less stately than his own, where now stands the temple,
as it is called, of Vica Pota. 

He resolved to render the government, as well as himself, instead
of terrible, familiar and pleasant to the people, and parted the axes
from the rods, and always, upon his entrance into the assembly, lowered
these also to the people, to show, in the strongest way, the republican
foundation of the government; and this the consuls observe to this
day. But the humility of the man was but a means, not, as they thought,
of lessening himself, but merely to abate their envy by this moderation;
for whatever he detracted from his authority he added to his real
power, the people still submitting with satisfaction, which they expressed
by calling him Poplicola, or people-lover, which name had the pre-eminence
of the rest, and, therefore, in the sequel of his narrative we shall
use no other. 

He gave free leave to any to sue for the consulship; but before the
admittance of a colleague, mistrusting the chances, lest emulation
or ignorance should cross his designs, by his sole authority enacted
his best and most important measures. First, he supplied the vacancies
of the senators, whom either Tarquin long before had put to death,
or the war lately cut off; those that he enrolled, they write, amounted
to a hundred and sixty-four; afterwards he made several laws which
added much to the people's liberty, in particular one granting offenders
the liberty of appealing to the people from the judgment of the consuls;
a second, that made it death to usurp any magistracy without the people's
consent; a third, for the relief of poor citizens, which, taking off
their taxes, encouraged their labours; another, against disobedience
to the consuls, which was no less popular than the rest, and rather
to the benefit of the commonalty than to the advantage of the nobles,
for it imposed upon disobedience the penalty of ten oxen and two sheep;
the price of a sheep being ten obols, of an ox, an hundred. For the
use of money was then infrequent amongst the Romans, but their wealth
in cattle great; even now pieces of property are called peculia from
pecus, cattle; and they had stamped upon their most ancient money
an ox, a sheep, or a hog; and surnamed their sons Suillii, Bubulci,
Caprarii, and Porcii, from caproe, goats, and porci, hogs.

Amidst this mildness and moderation, for one excessive fault he instituted
one excessive punishment; for he made it lawful without trial to take
away any man's life that aspired to a tyranny, and acquitted the slayer,
if he produced evidence of the crime; for though it was not probable
for a man, whose designs were so great, to escape all notice; yet
because it was possible he might, although observed, by force anticipate
judgment, which the usurpation itself would then preclue, he gave
a licence to any to anticipate the usurper. He was honoured likewise
for the law touching the treasury; for because it was necessary for
the citizens to contribute out of their estates to the maintenance
of wars, and he was unwilling himself to be concerned in the care
of it, or to permit his friends or indeed to let the public money
pass into any private house, he allotted the temple of Saturn for
the treasury, in which to this day they deposit the tribute-money,
and granted the people the liberty of choosing two young men as quaestors,
or treasurers. The first were Publius Veturius and Marcus Minucius;
and a large sum was collected, for they assessed one hundred and thirty
thousand, excusing orphans and widows from the payment. After these
dispositions, he admitted Lucretius, the father of Lucretia, as his
colleague, and gave him the precedence in the government, by resigning
the fasces to him, as due to his years, which privilege of seniority
continued to our time. But within a few days Lucretius died, and in
a new election Marcus Horatius succeeded in that honour, and continued
consul for the remainder of the year. 

Now, whilst Tarquin was making preparations in Tuscany for a second
war against the Romans, it is said a great portent occurred. When
Tarquin was king, and had all but completed the buildings of the Capitol,
designing, whether from oracular advice or his own pleasure, to erect
an earthen chariot upon the top, he intrusted the workmanship to Tuscans
of the city Veii, but soon after lost his kingdom. The work thus modelled,
the Tuscans set in a furnace, but the clay showed not those passive
qualities which usually attend its nature, to subside and be condensed
upon the evaporation of the moisture, but rose and swelled out to
that bulk, that, when solid and firm, notwithstanding the removal
of the roof and opening the walls of the furnace, it could not be
taken out without much difficulty. The soothsayers looked upon this
as a divine prognostic of success and power to those that should possess
it; and the Tuscans resolved not to deliver it to the Roman, who demanded
it, but answered that it rather belonged to Tarquin than to those
who had sent him into exile. A few days after, they had a horse-race
there, with the usual shows and solemnities, and as the charioteer
with his garland on his head was quietly driving the victorious chariot
out of the ring, the horses, upon no apparent occasion, taking fright,
either by divine instigation or by accident, hurried away their driver
at full speed to Rome; neither did his holding them in prevail, nor
his voice, but he was forced along with violence till, coming to the
Capitol, he was thrown out by the gate called Ratumena. This occurrence
raised wonder and fear in the Veientines, who now permitted the delivery
of the chariot. 

The building of the temple of the Capitoline Jupiter had been vowed
by Tarquin, the son of Demaratus, when warring with the Sabines; Tarquinius
Superbus, his son or grandson, built but could not dedicate it, because
he lost his kingdom before it was quite finished. And now that it
was completed with all its ornaments, Poplicola was ambitious to dedicate
it; but the nobility envied him that honour, as, indeed, also, in
some degree, those his prudence in making laws and conduct in wars
entitled him to. Grudging him, at any rate, the addition of this,
they urged Horatius to sue for the dedication, and, whilst Poplicola
was engaged in some military expedition, voted it to Horatius, and
conducted him to the Capitol, as though, were Poplicola present, they
could not have carried it. Yet, some write, Poplicola was by lot destined
against his will to the expedition, the other to the dedication; and
what happened in the performance seems to intimate some ground for
this conjecture; for, upon the Ides of September, which happens about
the full moon of the month Metagitnion, the people having assembled
at the Capitol and silence being enjoined, Horatius, after the performance
of other ceremonies, holding the doors, according to custom, was proceeding
to pronounce the words of dedication, when Marcus, the brother of
Poplicola, who had got a place on purpose beforehand near the door,
observing his opportunity, cried, "O consul, thy son lies dead in
the camp;" which made a great impression upon all others who heard
it, yet in nowise discomposed Horatius, who returned merely the reply,
"Cast the dead out whither you please; I am not a mourner;" and so
completed the dedication. The news was not true, but Marcus thought
the he might avert him from his performance; but it argues him a man
of wonderful self-possession, whether he at once saw through the cheat,
or, believing it as true, showed no discomposure. 

The same fortune attended the dedication of the second temple; the
first, as has been said, was built by Tarquin, and dedicated by Horatius;
it was burnt down in the civil wars. The second, Sylla built, and,
dying before the dedication, left that honour to Catulus; and when
this was demolished in the Vitellian sedition, Vespasian, with the
same success that attended him in other things, began a third and
lived to see it finished, but did not live to see it again destroyed,
as it presently was; but was as fortunate in dying before its destruction,
as Sylla was the reverse in dying before the dedication of his. For
immediately after Vespasian's death it was consumed by fire. The fourth,
which now exists, was both built and dedicated by Domitian. It is
said Tarquin expended forty thousand pounds of silver in the very
foundations; but the whole wealth of the richest private man in Rome
would not discharge the cost of the gilding of this temple in our
days, it amounting to above twelve thousand talents; the pillars were
cut out of Pentelican marble, of a length most happily proportioned
to their thickness; these we saw at Athens; but when they were cut
anew at Rome and polished, they did not gain so much in embellishment
as they lost in symmetry, being rendered too taper and slender. Should
any one who wonders at the costliness of the Capitol visit any one
gallery in Domitian's palace, or hall, or bath, or the apartments
of his concubines, Epicharmus's remark upon the prodigal, that-

"'Tis not beneficence, but truth to say, 
A mere disease of giving things away," would be in his mouth in application
to Domitian. It is neither piety, he would say, nor magnificence,
but, indeed, a mere disease of building, and a desire, like Midas,
of converting everything into gold or stone. And thus much for this

Tarquin, after the great battle wherein he lost his son in combat
with Brutus, fled to Clusium, and sought aid from Lars Porsenna, then
one of those most powerful princes of Italy, and a man of worth and
generosity; who assured him of assistance, immediately sending his
commands to Rome that they should receive Tarquin as their king, and,
upon the Romans' refusal, proclaimed war, and, having signified the
time and place where he intended his attack, approached with a great
army. Poplicola was, in his absence, chosen consul a second time,
and Titus Lucretius his colleague, and, returning to Rome, to show
a spirit yet loftier than Porsenna's, built the city Sigliura when
Porsenna was already in the neighbourhood; and walling it at great
expense, there placed a colony of seven hundred men, as being little
concerned at the war. Nevertheless, Porsenna, making a sharp assault,
obliged the defendants to retire to Rome, who had almost in their
entrance admitted the enemy into the city with them; only Poplicola
by sallying out at the gate prevented them, and, joining battle by
Tiber side, opposed the enemy, that pressed on with their multitude,
but at last, sinking under desperate wounds, was carried out of the
fight. The same fortune fell upon Lucretius, so that the Romans, being
dismayed, retreated into the city for their security, and Rome was
in great hazard of being taken, the enemy forcing their way on to
the wooden bridge, where Horatius Cocles, seconded by two of the first
men in Rome, Herminius and Lartius, made head against them. Horatius
obtained this name from the loss of one of his eyes in the war, or,
as others write, from the depressure of his nose, which, leaving nothing
in the middle to separate them, made both eyes appear but as one;
and hence, intending to say Cyclops, by a mispronunciation they called
him Cocles. This Cocles kept the bridge, and held back the enemy,
till his own party broke it down behind, and then with his armour
dropped into the river, and swam to the hither side, with a wound
in his hip from a Tuscan spear. Poplicola, admiring his courage, proposed
at once that the Romans should every one make him a present of a day's
provisions, and afterwards give him as much land as he could plough
round in one day, and besides erected a brazen statute to his honour
in the temple of Vulcan, as a requital for the lameness caused by
his wound. 

But Porsenna laying close siege to the city, and a famine raging amongst
the Romans, also a new army of the Tuscans making incursions into
the country, Poplicola, a third time chosen consul, designed to make,
without sallying out, his defence against Porsenna, but, privately
stealing forth against the new army of the Tuscans, put them to flight
and slew five thousand. The story of Mucius is variously given; we,
like others, must follow the commonly received statement. He was a
man endowed with every virtue, but most eminent in war; and, resolving
to kill Porsenna, attired himself in the Tuscan habit, and using the
Tuscan language, came to the camp, and approaching the seat where
the king sat amongst his nobles, but not certainly knowing the king,
and fearful to inquire, drew out his sword, and stabbed one who he
thought had most the appearance of king. Mucius was taken in the act,
and whilst he was under examination, a pan of fire was brought to
the king, who intended to sacrifice; Mucius thrust his right hand
into the flame, and whilst it burnt stood looking at Porsenna with
a steadfast and undaunted countenance; Porsenna at last in admiration
dismissed him, and returned his sword, reaching it from his seat;
Mucius received it in his left hand, which occasioned the name of
Scaevola, left-handed, and said, "I have overcome the terrors of Porsenna,
yet am vanquished by his generosity, and gratitude obliges me to disclose
what no punishment could extort; and assured him then, that three
hundred Romans, all of the same resolution, lurked about his camp,
only waiting for an opportunity; he, by lot appointed to the enterprise,
was not sorry that he had miscarried in it, because so brave and good
a man deserved rather to be a friend to the Romans than an enemy.
To this Porsenna gave credit, and thereupon expressed an inclination
to a truce, not, I presume, so much out of fear of the three hundred
Romans, as in admiration of the Roman courage. All other writers call
this man Mucius Scaevola, yet Athendrous, son of Sandon, in a book
addressed to Octavia, Caesar's sister, avers he was also called Postumus.

Poplicola, not so much esteeming Porsenna's enmity dangerous to Rome
as his friendship and alliance serviceable, was induced to refer the
controversy with Tarquin to his arbitration, and several times undertook
to prove Tarquin the worst of men, and justly deprived of his kingdom.
But Tarquin proudly replied he would admit no judge, much less Porsenna,
that had fallen away from his engagements; and Porsenna, resenting
this answer, and mistrusting the equity of his cause, moved also by
the solicitations of his son Aruns, who was earnest for the Roman
interest, made a peace on these conditions, that they should resign
the land they had taken from the Tuscans, and restore all prisoners
and receive back their deserters. To confirm the peace, the Romans
gave as hostages ten sons of patrician parents, and as many daughters,
amongst whom was Valeria, the daughter of Poplicola. 

Upon these assurances, Porsenna ceased from all acts of hostility,
and the young girls went down to the river to bathe at that part where
the winding of the bank formed a bay and made the waters stiller and
quieter; and, seeing no guard, nor any one coming or going over, they
were encouraged to swim over, notwithstanding the depth and violence
of the stream. Some affirm that one of them, by name Cloelia, passing
over on horseback, persuaded the rest to swim after; but, upon their
safe arrival, presenting themselves to Poplicola, he neither praised
nor approved their return, but was concerned lest he should appear
less faithful than Porsenna, and this boldness in the maidens should
argue treachery in the Romans; so that, apprehending them, he sent
them back to Porsenna. But Tarquin's men, having intelligence of this,
laid a strong ambuscade on the other side for those that conducted
them; and while these were skirmishing together, Valeria, the daughter
of Poplicola, rushed through the enemy, and fled, and with the assistance
of three of her attendants made good her escape, whilst the rest were
dangerously hedged in by the soldiers; but Aruns, Porsenna's son,
upon tidings of it, hastened to their rescue, and, putting the enemy
to flight, delivered the Romans. When Porsenna saw the maiden returned,
demanding who was the author and adviser of the act, and understanding
Cloelia to be the person, he looked on her with a cheerful and benignant
countenance, and, commanding one of his horses to be brought, sumptuously
adorned, made her a present of it. This is produced as evidence by
those who affirm that only Cloelia passed the river on horseback;
those who deny it call it only the honour the Tuscan did to her courage;
a figure, however, on horseback, stands in the Via Sacra, as you go
to the Palatium, which some say is the statue of Cloelia, others of
Valeria. Porsenna, thus reconciled to the Romans, gave them a fresh
instance of his generosity, and commanded his soldiers to quit the
camp merely with their arms, leaving their tents, full of corn and
other stores, as a gift to the Romans. Hence, even down to our time,
when there is a public sale of goods, they cry Porsenna's first, by
way of perpetual commemoration of his kindness. There stood also,
by the senate-house, a brazen statue of him, of plain and antique

Afterwards, the Sabines, making incursions upon the Romans, Marcus
Valerius, brother to Poplicola, was made consul, and with him Postumius
Tubertus. Marcus, through the management of affairs by the conduct
and direct assistance of Poplicola, obtained two great victories,
in the latter of which he slew thirteen thousand Sabines without the
loss of one Roman, and was honoured, as an accession to his triumph,
with an house built in the Palatium at the public charge; and whereas
the doors of other houses opened inward into the house, they made
this to open outward into the street, to intimate their perpetual
public recognition of his merit by thus continually making way for
him. The same fashion in their doors the Greeks, they say, had of
old universally, which appears from their comedies, where those that
are going out make a noise at the door within, to give notice to those
that pass by or stand near the door, that the opening the door into
the street might occasion no surprisal. 

The year after, Poplicola was made consul the fourth time, when a
confederacy of the Sabines and Latins threatened a war; a superstitious
fear also overran the city on the occasion of general miscarriages
of their women, no single birth coming to its due time. Poplicola,
upon consultation of the Sibylline books, sacrificing to Pluto, and
renewing certain games commanded by Apollo, restored the city to more
cheerful assurance in the gods, and then prepared against the menaces
of men. There were appearances of great preparation, and of a formidable
confederacy. Amongst the Sabines there was one Appius Clausus, a man
of a great wealth and strength of body, but most eminent for his high
character and for his eloquence; yet, as is usually the fate of great
men, he could not escape the envy of others, which was much occasioned
by his dissuading the war, and seeming to promote the Roman interest,
with a view, it is thought, to obtaining absolute power in his own
country for himself. Knowing how welcome these reports would be to
the multitude, and how offensive to the army and the abettors of the
war, he was afraid to stand a trial, but, having a considerable body
of friends and allies to assist him, raised a tumult amongst the Sabines,
which delayed the war. Neither was Poplicola wanting, not only to
understand the grounds of the sedition, but to promote and increase
it, and he despatched emissaries with instructions to Clausus, that
Poplicola was assured of his goodness and justice, and thought it
indeed unworthy in any man, however injured, to seek revenge upon
his fellow citizens; yet if he pleased, for his own security, to leave
his enemies and come to Rome, he should be received, both in public
and private, with the honour his merit deserved, and their own glory
required. Appius, seriously weighing the matter, came to the conclusion
that it was the best resource which necessity left him, and advising
with his friends, and they inviting others in the same manner, he
came to Rome, bringing five thousand families, with their wives and
children; people of the quietest and steadiest temper of all the Sabines.
Poplicola, informed of their approach, received them with all the
kind offices of a friend, and admitted them at once to the franchise
allotting to every one two acres of land by the river Anio, but to
Clausus twenty-five acres, and gave him a place in the senate; a commencement
of political power which he used so wisely, that he rose to the highest
reputation, was very influential, and left the Claudian house behind
him, inferior to none in Rome. 

The departure of these men rendered things quiet amongst the Sabines;
yet the chief of the community would not suffer them to settle into
peace, but resented that Clausus now, by turning deserter, should
disappoint that revenge upon the Romans, which, while at home, he
had unsuccessfully opposed. Coming with a great army, they sat down
before Fidenae, and placed an ambuscade of two thousand men near Rome,
in wooded and hollow spots, with a design that some few horsemen,
as soon as it was day, should go out and ravage the country, commanding
them upon their approach to the town so to retreat as to draw the
enemy into the ambush. Poplicola, however, soon advertised of these
designs by deserters, disposed his forces to their respective charges.
Postumius Balbus, his son-in-law, going out with three thousand men
in the evening, was ordered to take the hills, under which the ambush
lay, there to observe their motions; his colleague, Lucretius, attended
with a body of the lightest and boldest men, was appointed to meet
the Sabine horse; whilst he, with the rest of the army, encompassed
the enemy. And a thick mist rising accidentally, Postumius, early
in the morning, with shouts from the hills, assailed the ambuscade,
Lucretius charged the light-horse, and Poplicola besieged the camp;
so that on all sides defeat and ruin came upon the Sabines, and without
any resistance the Romans killed them in their flight, their very
hopes leading them to their death, for each division, presuming that
the other was safe, gave up all thought of fighting or keeping their
ground; and these quitting the camp to retire to the ambuscade, and
the ambuscade flying to the camp, fugitives thus met fugitives, and
found those from whom they expected succour as much in need of succour
from themselves. The nearness, however, of the city Fidenae was the
preservation of the Sabines, especially those that fled from the camp;
those that could not gain the city either perished in the field, or
were taken prisoners. This victory, the Romans, though usually ascribing
such success to some god, attributed to the conduct of one captain;
and it was observed to be heard amongst the soldiers, that Poplicola
had delivered their enemies lame and blind, and only not in chains,
to be despatched by their swords. From the spoil and prisoners great
wealth accrued to the people. 

Poplicola, having completed his triumph, and bequeathed the city to
the care of the succeeding consuls, died; thus closing a life which,
so far as human life may be, had been full of all that is good and
honourable. The people, as though they had not duly rewarded his deserts
when alive, but still were in his debt, decreed him a public interment,
every one contributing his quadrans towards the charge; the women,
besides, by private consent, mourned a whole year, a signal mark of
honour to his memory. He was buried, by the people's desire, within
the city, in the part called Velia, where his posterity had likewise
privilege of burial; now, however, none of the family are interred
there, but the body is carried thither and set down, and some one
places a burning torch under it and immediately takes it away, as
an attestation of the deceased's privilege, and his receding from
his honour; after which the body is removed. 



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